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Mathew Gibson



Insta:  @mcj.gibson


The subjects for Mathew Gibson’s paintings are the trace signs of human activity and habitation. They are the architecture, interiors, ‘still life’ and clothing that form the material world of our everyday and are, by necessity, formative in the way we negotiate it. The paintings are of familiar forms and images, but the somber settings and intense Baroque lighting gives them an almost haunted quality of otherworldliness, evoking a sense of 'alienated intimacy'.

Gibson’s work invites viewers into the imaginative space of the painting and asserts their engagement with the subject ahead of any spontaneous gesture or technique of the artist. The spaces and subjects depicted appear to be functional and often evoke human presence through the very absence of inhabitants. Questions about what the spaces are for and who uses them are left for the viewer to complete.

Gibson cites artists such as the monastic 17th-century Spanish painter Francisco Zurbaran and the 15th-century Sienese painter Sassetta as specific influences on his paintings. Especially influential is the way Zurbaran creates a powerful devotional lighting in his paintings that gives ‘material form to the constructs of the spirit.’

An archaic process of drawing, transfer onto true gesso, egg tempera then oil glazes is a deliberate promotion of methodical planning and manufacture which aligns itself strongly with Gibson’s concerns. The planning and preparation of these paintings leaves no room for painterly gesture or spontaneity. The process lends itself to the development of imaginary three-dimensional spaces and concrete forms. Complete drawings are transferred onto gesso panels. Multiple layers of thin egg tempera paint are methodically applied then equally thin oil glazes are laid on top. The low-lit spaces occupy a netherworld of the imagination; the paintings make concrete the fears and re-alignments of dreamlike states of mind.

Mathew Gibson was born in Acton, London in 1962. He studied at Norwich School of Art (BA Hons Fine Art, 1987-90) and at Kent Institute of Art & Design (Interdisciplinary MA in Art & Architecture, 1990-91). From 2006-07 he was Professor of Foundation studies at SCAD, Savannah, USA, and from 2011 to 2022 resident artist at Colart, owners of Winsor & Newton. Since 2022 co-founder of Contemporary Art Academy. He currently lives and works in London.

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